Fetish Life - Fighting the Neurochemical Scene Drop
Have you ever felt sore, tired and moody after an amazing night of kinky activities? Welcome to the bodies’ natural reaction to kink: Drop! The feel-good chemicals you gained while playing are dispersed, and your body is deprived of dopamine and serotonin. Dropping is partially so fervent due to your reintroduction to life (jobs, dishes, bills) and coincides with this drop of happy neurons. You are remembering the left-behind reality, while your body is attempting to mentally and physically recover from your hottest fantasies. However, it can be hard to recognize these feelings when drop is happening. Like the officer knocking on your window about speeding, suddenly your research can be dauntingly far-fetched. Reading other’s experiences can help when you are faced with the same situation, so hopefully these tips can be incorporated into your post-kink self-care routine.
A pause for linguistic side note: I’ve attempted to write this from a general perspective because both tops and bottoms suffer from a drop. To claim a Domme is strong at all times to best support their sub is an insult to their humanity: everyone can suffer from a TopDrop or a SubDrop.
So you’re ready to play! Maybe you’re a self-proclaimed kinkster or a recent enthusiast--great! Read on. Leary’s phrase of “turn on, tune in, drop out,” is very relatable to kink. Are you in the right mindset? Have you read erotica? Are the toys clean and ready? These mental preparations are important! But more often than not, we neglect our physical status before a kinky scene. Are you sore in certain areas? How are you feeling--tired, refreshed, burnt out? When was the last time you ate? How are your partners’ physical health’s? Being honest with your situation before a scene helps prepare the eventual drop, because what comes up must come down. Being a responsible kinkster means practicing: Safe, Sane and Consensual (SSC), Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK), (and my favourite) Personal Responsibility Informed Consent Kink (PRICK). Being aware of risks and taking personal responsibility means you have to recognize potential obstacles in order to mitigate them before injuries occur. This means taking care of yourself! I always have a medical kit, water, bandage scissors, and an assortment of over-the-counter drugs. I take a blanket with me to all scenes, since I can use it during as a drop cloth and after as temperature control. Using recreational drugs is your call, but be honest about it and know how it can change a scene. Caffeine and alcohol are included; Five Hour Energy can be great for a long day, but be aware of its stimulation. Drinking will cause a harder drop. All of the above help scenes go smoothly, which help your recovery afterwards.
Make sure you eat well before doing kinky activities, so you have calories to burn! Both tops and bottoms will consume a lot of energy while playing, and sometimes more than you think! I have problems with reactive low blood sugar, so I eat a high protein, low simple carbs diet. Avoid items high on the Glycemic Index (http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/glycemic-index), like pasta, potatoes, bread, ice cream and candy. The last three are common at munches and play parties, although not the best option for recovery. My snacks include: glucose pills, nuts, cottage cheese, milk alternatives (less sugar), and high protein breakfast/snack bars or granola (i.e. more than 8g, with minimal sugar). If you are at a potluck event, check yourself before you wreck yourself---there may be some great foodie items, but be aware of how they will affect you. Eating beforehand prevents unintentional snacking. If you need to indulge, take a small amount and eat it slowly, with water and a high protein item that can help slow the digestion (eg cheese). Before kink, I eat beans, cheese, eggs, leafy greens, vegetables, fish or meat, while avoiding heavily processed foods. I do not snack before scenes unless necessary, so I can avoid blood sugar swings. While most kinksters do not notice such a dramatic difference, even a minimal change in personal preparations can change an hour scene into forty minutes or a hard hit into feeling full force. Mitigating variables helps scenes run smoothly, and your drop be less dramatic.
Talk about aftercare and drop with your partner before you play! Although this seems painfully obvious to mention, it can be easy to jump into the fun stuff. It is important not to underestimate the need for effective (a?) communication, because it is the key to having a great experience. What do you need for aftercare, and what does your drop look like? Your partner(s)? Are there certain things in the past that have worked well, or things that have not? Remember the preparations mentioned; Do you have enough for you and the ones you are playing with?
Set boundaries. Set boundaries. Set boundaries. Say it three times, say it often. This falls naturally in line after discussing aftercare and drop (since those often include boundary limitations). Boundaries can be broken down into what your partner(s) and you are/not comfortable with.
Are there certain words or actions that bother you? Do you have triggers? A trigger is a fairly new term referring words or events that can cause extreme emotional distress, such as panic attacks. What are things that could cause you to safeword during a scene? Perhaps these incidents have happened, or they could happen. Have you witnessed or experienced things in the past that feel relevant to mention? A radical example, but I was a bottom to a Dom who passed away unexpectedly. I always talk to my partners about how this changed me. Since then, I am no longer comfortable with certain activities. I’ve cried in the middle of a scene; Those who play with me accept the potential for tears, or do not engage. I have certain triggers that cause mild panic attacks, such as not getting a hold of my partners when I am dropping.
All of these examples are very real and have changed how I scene, and how I communicate about a scene, before the scene. Having solid boundaries and knowing yourself does not make you a “bad” kinkster, it makes you self-aware and keeps you physically and mentally safe.
How is your mental health? This too, changes a scene and subsequent drop. I live with diagnosed severe depression and anxiety. They are very cyclic, meaning when one is down the other is high, and they can affect (e?) each other. I get anxious about being depressed. Dropping in kink feels very similar, due to the drop in neurochemical levels your brain undergoes. I always remember the feeling is temporary, and can be alleviated with self-love and time. This too shall pass! However, if your drop does last longer than two weeks, go see a doctor, please! You could have vitamin deficiencies, depression, or other symptoms that could be causing the feelings.
After reading about the idea of creating a bullet journal for mental health, I started an ongoing list of self-care ideas to remember to take care of myself (see: https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/mental-health-bullet-journal). In addition to check-in’s for my emotions and biweekly therapy notes, it helps me keep track of my internal flotsam and jetsam. The concept of caring for yourself has recently skewed into capitalistic consumerism, like cut flowers and expensive ice cream. I try to minimize my reliance on materialistic items because I have found it maximizes my happiness (and my bank account, since I forget balances when I am swimming in emotion). Instead, I look for realistic options. While ideal, self-care is not just bubble baths and wine. Sometimes, it means doing dishes for only for five minutes, and rewarding yourself after. Reality can be hard to grasp while dropping, but it can jumpstart recovery if you consider productivity as self-care. Below are some highlights that I find most useful when dropping from a kinky scene.
First, do not let the drop take away from how amazing the scene you had was (it was as great as you remember). In hindsight--especially while dropping--it can be easy to doubt if your scene went well, or even if your current emotions are worth having a scene to begin with. This is not the time for self-reflection. Yes, you may have some critiques to improve your Craft, but the negativity will not be insightful. This is the time for self-care, so write those critiques down or set them aside. There will always be time for improvement when you are in a better state of mind and can communicate well with your partner.
Let yourself experience emotions! When I am returning to reality, I sometimes get frustrated and vexed by people around me. The brain is low on feel-good chemicals during a drop, so you can feel sad, lonely, or hurt. This is perfectly acceptable and very common. If it would help, you can make a list of what you are feeling, write about it, or use a self-care app like What’s Up (more ideas here: http://www.refinery29.com/mental-health-apps). Cry if you need to....I do it often while dropping, and feel cathartic afterwards. Or, maybe things will be extra hilarious! Reality can seem silly at times, especially right after a beautiful scene. Or, the pendulum can swing towards nihilism, from funny to pointless; Please be aware of how your emotions are skewing your thinking! You may feel more in love with your partner(s), and perhaps “needy.” Don’t forget to reach out to them during this time (Remember what boundaries you had set previously and what your partner(s) desire, too)!
Remember the communication about dropping you had before the scene? They should be willing to empathize and help you through it. Talking beforehand ensures you comprehend what you both need during such an emotionally vulnerable time.
Our era permits constant live news feeds, social media, and video streams. I avoid these when recovering from kink. I need a gentle re-uptake into society, and this includes no “real world talk.” No politics, bills, future plans, scene reflections, or status updates, please. If I read, it is fiction, or light nonfiction, and the telly on only shows and movies. I have definitely caught myself being distraught after stumbling on a depressing news article while dropping. There will always be times for catching up later, but not immediately after a scene.
And of course, cuddles! Your partner(s), pets, kids, and stuffies!
Soft things are especially helpful for dropping. If you have animals, they love you! Pet them. Talk to them. Caring for another creature is a good first step to remembering how to care for yourself. Find your softest blanket, cuddle on the couch, and read or watch television. Some people prefer silly, light, comedy to forget, others want ones that will make them cry. A warm bath (with bubbles?), is a good way to relax tense muscles and meditate. Aromatherapy can play second fiddle here--lavender, rose, hibiscus, and Epson mineral bath salts are all gentle on the body and help relieve stress. I have also used herbs from my garden, mint that needed weeding, and tea bags from my pantry. Do you have spare candles around the house? Enjoy a candlelit bath! Embrace your wild ideas! Creativity is the antagonist of my depression and drop.
Which brings us to inspiring our imagination. What are your hobbies? Have you been creating time for hobbies recently, or have you been neglecting some passions? In sparkly blue pen I have written in my journal, “Color! Doodle! You don’t have to create anything, just do it.” This refers to F.R.E.E. writing: Fast, Raw, Exact but Easy. Let your mind meditate, focus on what you’re creating, and indulge in your expertise (what exactly is it you are trying to do? See things as they are by trying to minimize your cognitive distortions. This process of reasoning helps me later when I review the kinky scenes that caused the drop, because I am already refocusing my brain to be less emotional and more logical). Other activities I do are read comic books, listen to vinyl records, bake, and drive around town aimlessly. Whether you build models, play video games, or garden, do something just for you with intent and focus.
Dropping is bound to happen, but you can minimize the effects with various accouterments in your kinky toolkit. Take precautions by talking with your partner(s) and setting boundaries about the scene, aftercare, and what drop looks and feels like to you. Be prepared with a bag full of aftercare stuff, medical prep, food, and water. Know what SCC, PRICK, and RACK are--not just what the acronyms stand for, but the precautions, risks, and responsibilities behind such regulations. Be in tune with your emotions and that of your partner(s). Afterwards, embrace your feelings, your creativity, and your imagination. Don’t talk about the scene until you have had a chance to process it, and can communicate well with your partner(s). Avoid a harsh re-introduction to reality by avoiding news and social media, and ease into the feeling of being back in reality.
Dropping doesn’t have to consume you after a scene! This is simply a chance for you to revitalize and reconnect with your body. It can be an opportunity to catch up with yourself, hobbies, chores, and partner(s).